Elmira, NY Train And Carriage Crash, Nov 1892
TO ETERNITY !
FOUR PEOPLE KILLED INSTANTLY BY TRAIN NO. 5.
A CROSSING HORROR.
AN ACCIDENT THE ENGINEER DID NOT SEE.
THREE CORPSES ON THE ENGINE PILOT.
THE GHASTLY DISCOVERY MADE WHEN THE TRAIN REACHED THE DEPOT.
WHAT THE ENGINEER SAYS.
HE WAS GETTING HIS DINNER PAIL OUT WHEN THE TRAIN PASSED OVER THE CROSSING - THE VICTIMS, RESIDENTS OF THE COUNTY - ONE YOUNG MAN INJURED BUT WILL PROBABLY RECOVER.
EDWARD BLANCHARD and wife;
MRS. MAGGIE PITTS;
MRS. WILLIAM CONKLIN.
It was a horrible revelation that Baggageman Edward Hooker and Otis Breese unfolded to the engineer and other trainmen and passengers on Erie train No. 5 just after it had pulled into the depot in this city at 11 o'clock last night. On the pilot of the engine were the mangled remains of three human beings. The horrible accident, what had cost them their lives, occurred at the Erie's Pennsylvania Avenue crossing but no one on the flying train knew of the terrible catastrophe, until the train reached the station and the greatest excitement followed the awful discovery.
The accident vividly recalled another horrible catastrophe which occurred on the Erie a year ago last summer, when, as all readers of the Gazette know, the Rev. Wellington J. White and three children met instant death at the Reformatory Avenue crossing. The circumstances surrounding both accidents were in many respects similar, but the details of the one last night were if anything , more horrible than the former.
Pinned fast to the pilot, which was covered with blood, were the remains of two women and one man. This was the ghastly sight which the Baggageman called Engineer Cable New, Fireman Dean and Conductor Thomas to witness last night. The men were horrified and the terrible sight which they so unexpectedly saw, for a moment, bewildered them. The passengers and others who came to ascertain the cause of the excitement shuddered at the ghastly spectacle, and soon turned away from the sickening sight. As soon as possible the bodies were removed from the engine and placed in the oil room, adjoining the depot.
While this work was being performed, a telephone message to the depot conveyed the information that still another person had been killed and one more badly injured. The message stated that the accident which had cost, at least, four people their lives had occurred at the Pennsylvania Avenue crossing.
Coroner Westlake was summoned and quickly arrived. After viewing the three bodies in the oil room an engine was procured, and the coroner and others were conveyed to the scene of the disaster.
The dead body of another woman was found lying beside the track with Officers Kelly and Toomey and a number of others standing near by. The injured man had been removed to the hospital.
The Remains Identified.
Shortly after arriving at the scene of the accident it was ascertained that the victims were:
MR. and MRS. EDWARD BLANCHARD, middle aged, dead;
MRS. MAGGIE PITTS, aged 48 years, dead;
MRS. WILLIAM CONKLIN, aged 25, dead;
WILLIAM CONKLIN, aged 28, badly injured.
The parties all resided at Southport Corners, the men being employed by A.G. Miller on his farm.
How The Accident Happened.
An investigation of the horrible affair disclosed the fact that a party of men and women from Southport Corners had driven to Elmira to attend the performance at the opera house last night. There were two teams. The teams were left at the Buckbee House until after the performance, and both started for home at the same time. In the first vehicle, a two seated wagon drawn by one horse were Mr. and Mrs. Blanchard, Mr. and Mrs. Conklin and Mrs. Pitts. In the second vehicle, a top buggy, were Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Conklin, the parents of William Conklin, who was injured, and Charles A. Pitts, husband of Mrs. Pitts, who was killed. William Conklin was driving the first vehicle, which was the one struck by the train. The horse had cleared the crossing and at that moment the rapidly going train dashed into the wagon, ploughing completely through it, and making kindling wood of the ill-fated vehicle. The horses were freed and ran wildly up Pennsylvania Avenue. It is thought that Mr. Conklin held onto the reins and was pulled over the dashboard, thus saving him from death. It seems very remarkable that neither the engineer nor fireman saw the vehicle and knew nothing of the accident until the startling discovery of the bodies on the pilot was made at the depot.
Mills T. Duryea of the Telegram and E. E. Rising, the operator in the tower, were the first to discover the accident. They found WILLIAM CONKLIN lying between the tracks a few feet from the crossing. They were attempting to render him assistance when Michael Mack came along and helped to raise the unfortunate young man from his prostrate position. He was carried into the tower house, and later removed to the Arnot-Ogden Hospital.
E. J. Toole, who was one of the first to arrive on the scene, after the accident occurred, found two hats near the crossing, and a further search was instituted. In a few moments the dead body of MRS. CONKLIN was found, with her had lying against the rail, about 100 yards north of the crossing. She had evidently been carried along that distance by the engine. Dr. Annabel was summoned and made MR. CONKLIN as comfortable as possible until his removal to the hospital.
Star-Gazette Elmira New York 1892-12-01